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DRD web interest ‘doubles’ as war on loudness continues

International media attention and nearly 50 local ‘MeetUp’ events underlined the continued potency of Dynamic Range Day (DRD) – mastering engineer Ian Shepherd’s personal crusade against the impact of over-compression on the sound of recorded music, writes David Davies.

For its third edition, DRD combined a flurry of online activity (including an interview with PSNEurope) with a series of local ‘MeetUp’ events designed to raise awareness of the loudness issue. Cambridge, Sao Paolo, Warsaw, Johannesburg and Bogota were just five of the locations in which students, professionals and music lovers gathered together to listen to “great-sounding, dynamic” recordings. The differences between a natural-sounding mix with a dynamic range of 8dB or more and an over-compressed equivalent were pinpointed in two specially-made short films – both of which can still be found here. Following on from Elbow’s 2011 victory with fifth studio LP Build A Rocket Boys!, this year’s award for the most dynamic-sounding album was won by Bjork’s groundbreaking, app-friendly Biophilia. The Icelandic innovator’s management was fully engaged with DRD, posting updates on her Twitter and Facebook pages that were seen by millions of followers. The total number of hits to the DRD website doubled in comparison to last year, while more than 2,000 people entered the online competition. Reflecting on DRD12, Ian Shepherd (pictured) – mastering engineer and DRD founder – tells PSNEurope: “The response from the industry has been fantastic and 100% positive. TC Electronic, Harrison Mixbus, NAD Electronics and PSB Speakers all contacted me this year; SSL, Bowers & Wilkins and Fluid Mastering were already on board. PMC also wanted to take part but we ran out of time organising it! The APRS and MPG have been very supportive, and I’ve had more emails and messages on Facebook than I can count from artists and labels giving their support. The whole thing is taking on a life of its own [and] it’s genuinely hard to find people who disagree with the message we’re putting across.”